Supreme Court legalises abortion regardless of marital status

Reuters: NEW DELHI - The right of a woman to get an abortion up to 24 weeks into a pregnancy, regardless of her marital status, was affirmed by India's top court on Thursday, September 29, 2022. This decision was highly praised by women's rights groups.

After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned in June its landmark 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade that had legalised the operation throughout the United States, the right to abortion has become divisive on a global scale.

“Even an unmarried woman can undergo abortion up to 24 weeks on par with married women,” said Justice D.Y. Chandrachud of India’s Supreme Court, holding that a woman’s marital status could not decide her right to abort.

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, which dates back to 1971, had only allowed married women, divorcees, widows, minors, "disabled and mentally ill women," and survivors of sexual abuse or rape to have the treatment.

“The decision to have or not to have an abortion is borne out of complicated life circumstances, which only the woman can choose on her own terms without external interference or influence,” the court ruling said.

A woman should always have the "reproductive autonomy" to get an abortion without consulting a third party, it was stated.

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